Zimbabwe take 3-0 winning lead

Published: August 17, 2011

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It all rested on Mushfiqur Rahim’s tiny shoulders but with six required, his heave across the line off Chris Mpofu ended up in Vusi Sibanda’s hands, giving Zimbabwe a series win over Bangladesh after five years.

The Harare Sports Club erupted at that moment as the home team clinched the third one-dayer by five runs after the Tigers were stopped at 245 from 49.2 overs after Zimbabwe had made 250-7.

But it was Mushfiqur’s brilliantly choreographed 101 off 100 balls that almost took the Tigers home from several positions of distress.

He kept the chase going, despite the loss of partners at regular intervals, through a boundary here, a two there. But the wickets that hurt Bangladesh most were the likes of Shuvogoto Hom Chowdhury, Mahmudullah Riyad and later the two tail-enders near the end of an exciting chase.

The crucial stand was the 44 added by Mushfiqur and Riyad, but the latter’s unnecessary bunt down the ground found Hamilton Masakadza at long-on.

The fifth wicket partnership, too, between Mushfiqur and Shuvogoto had somehow recovered the lost cause after Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal fell, but with the required run-rate going past eight an over, something had to snap, and it came through Shuvogoto’s senseless dash down the wicket to end the 61-run stand of which 32 came off his bat.

But it was the two earlier wickets that slowed the Tigers down.

Tamim’s run-out was bizarre, to say the least. While turning for the second, he appeared to have dropped the bat mid-crease before trying a dive arms first. But the left-hander was a foot short, dismissed after a circumspect 44 off 62 balls with just two boundaries.

Shakib, the last resort after Tamim fell to make it 91 for three, started emphatically with a huge six off Elton Chigumbura, but it was short-lived as he too gave Prosper Utseya a return catch, out for 19 off 22 balls.

The other batsmen, however, hardly delivered.

Regardless of the first steady start in the series, Imrul Kayes’s horror tour continued. The left-hander’s contribution to the opening 50-run stand was only 16 before his second thrust of the pad was adjudged out off Utseya. Junaed Siddiqui, in place of Shahriar Nafees, pushed around for 19 balls before offering a simple catch to Utseya.

Earlier, the 142-run third wicket stand between Tatenda Taibu and Hamilton Masakadza gave much-needed solidity to the Zimbabwe innings after Brendan Taylor completed a hattrick of failures and Vusi Sibanda played one shot too many.

The right-handed opener hammered some splendid boundaries during his 27 before he fell to a skier at cover while trying to pull Rubel Hossain to make it 39 for two.

From there the experienced duo took it slow at first, the pugnacious wicketkeeper and the robust mainstay of Zimbabwe’s batting gathering pace as the stand went along. Taibu made use of three lives, the first of which was in Nasir Hossain’s second over when he bowled medium-pace. Shakib’s decision looked ridiculous but for the split second Taibu’s chipped drive went Shuvogoto’s way, it looked like a stroke of brilliance. But the boy from Mymensingh dropped the sitter and a while later Nasir spilled one, when the batsman was on 41, which would have looked great had he pulled it off at short mid-wicket. Mushfiqur too dropped one at the same score.

Taibu, who made 83 off 103 balls, eventually fell to a fine low catch by Rubel Hossain, who along with Shafiul Islam, bowled very well in the batting Powerplay.

Masakadza made 74 with the help of four boundaries and two beautiful sixes while Chigumbura, who was dropped by substitute Sohrawardi Shuvo at deep square-leg on six, hammered Shakib for two sixes in an over on his way to a 21-ball 31.

Shakib and Rubel took two wickets each while Nazmul Hossain, Shafiul and Riyad took one apiece.

ZIMBABWE: 250 for 7 (Sibanda 27, Masakadza 74, Taibu 83, Ervine 18, Chigumbura 31; Rubel 2-41, Shakib 2-46)

BANGLADESH: 245 (Tamim 44, Imrul 16, Mushfiqur 101, Shakib 19, Shuvagoto 22; Jarvis 2-52, Mpofu 2-43, Utseya 3-47)

Result: Zimbabwe won by five runs.

Man-of-the-match: Mushfiqur Rahim.

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